How Do I know If I am Healing?
Going “home for the holidays” is, among other things, a perfect way to assess the level of your own healing. Given that we can only change ourselves, spending time with our family is a great way to see how much we have been able to heal our past. If we can enter into a situation that is “exactly the same” – one that would previously have us feeling hurt, angry and upset – and create a different, more positive experience, we know we have had success. If you have been working on yourself and healing your past, it can be very empowering to go into a previously painful situation and find that although you notice dysfunctional behaviours, you have become “the witness”. You find that you no longer feel the need to defend yourself or correct others. You may even find that when you don’t react as you might have in the past, that the whole experience becomes more peaceful as others may follow your lead. It can be difficult to change old entrenched patterns, but the rewards are magnificent. A graduate recently reported to me that as one of eight children, he spent most of his life feeling resentful about the lack of love and affection from his parents he received as a child. When he was in his early forties, one parent got sick, he went home and cared for both parents for a number of years. When he left, they were both crying and begging him to stay. He said he was able to heal this lifelong wound, but not in the way he expected. It was in his ability to put his resentments aside and love them, that he experienced their profound love in return. He was able to create this experience because he had done his own healing.
If you believe you may need to heal your past, there are techniques and resources to do so. It is best to do this with a counsellor trained to work with family of origin issues but you can start the process yourself! Here are some tips:
- Make sure you take 100% responsibility for your state and circumstances. Many people still want to blame others (often parents) for their current life situation.
- Become curious. Notice when you have a strong reaction. These are clues to a past that needs healing.
- Do not make someone else responsible for your strong feelings. Notice them, breath into them and they will eventually dissipate
- Investigate and challenge some of the “stories” or beliefs you have developed around your past. The mind is very powerful and you could be operating under outdated ideas
- Don’t blame or judge yourself. You are perfect and loveable .